How to Rough Texture Plaster Walls

Written by elizabeth falwell
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How to Rough Texture Plaster Walls
Adding rough texture to a plaster wall is one alternative to painting or wallpapering. (brush in paint image by Vladislav Gajic from

An alternative to painting or wallpapering a plaster wall is adding a textured layer. While this can be a highly creative process--designing and creating a texture has limitless options--it is also a time-consuming and labour-intensive process.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plywood
  • Dust sheet
  • Duster
  • Water
  • Borax
  • Rag
  • Bucket
  • Primer
  • Drywall joint compound
  • Sand (optional)

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  1. 1

    Visit your local home improvement store to get an idea of the types of texture options available to you. Many chains will offer workshops to guide do-it-yourselfers through this process, so ask if any workshops are coming up.

  2. 2

    Decide on the texture of your choice. Experiment with different texture options on a primed piece of plywood before making a final selection.

  3. 3

    Remove paintings and other decorative objects on your wall. To make cleanup easier, place a dust sheet on the floor along the wall that is to be textured.

  4. 4

    Prepare your walls for the texture compound by cleaning and priming them first. Clean the wall first by dusting it using a duster or dry rag, then wipe it down using a combination of borax and water. Next, prime the wall, for better adhesion of the compound to the wall surface. Clean and prime the surface even if it has been previously painted. There is no need to strip an existing layer of paint unless it is peeling or flaking.

  5. 5

    Select the variety of drywall joint compound you'll be placing on the wall. You can choose a pre-mixed texture compound, or a compound that comes in powder form. You'll have to mix the powder in a bucket of water to create the actual compound.

  6. 6

    Add an extra ingredient to your compound, if so desired. One option is adding sand, which will automatically give the compound a grainy texture. You may also choose to add a small amount of paint to give the compound a bit of colour.

  7. 7

    Practice the texture you have chosen on a piece of primed plywood or drywall. This will help you to perfect your skills and will give you a better idea of how the finished wall should look.

  8. 8

    Apply the compound to the wall using a tool of your choice. This could be a joint or putty knife, a notched trowel, a paint brush or a paint roller. If you are sure the compound you selected is not caustic or poses any health risk, you can even apply it with your hands.

  9. 9

    Spread the compound in a thin layer along a small section of the wall; one-eighth of an inch is recommended. Applying a thicker coat will make the compound take longer to dry, and leave it in danger of cracking and chipping.

  10. 10

    Create the desired texture in the compound with a tool of your choice. Use a sponge for a "pocked" look, a paint brush for a "striated" look or a brown paper bag for a "crinkled" look. You can also use these tools in different patterns to create different looks. For example, moving the paint brush in circles will give you a swirly pattern, while moving it straight up and down or left to right will give you vertical or horizontal lines.

  11. 11

    Be consistent with your compound application and texturing technique to create a uniform result. Variations in the thickness of the compound or texturing tool will lead to differences in the final look.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have wallpaper on your walls, remove it before cleaning and priming the surface.
  • Add a layer of glaze to the dried compound to protect the texture and give it an aged look.
  • Fill or repair any cracks, chips or other imperfections before you apply the texturing compound to avoid compromising the consistency of your textured wall.
  • Always protect your eyes when working around plaster, as small bits of dust from it can get into your eyes. This is especially important if you are working with a caustic plaster compound.

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